DETROIT -- Sometimes the line between being a hero or a goat is so thin that it can't be recognized by the naked eye.
Devin Setoguchi straddled that line for two minutes during overtime while in the penalty box for holding Todd Bertuzzi. It was a call he didn't like -- but there he was, hanging on every pass and shot during the power play of the Detroit Red Wings that already scored twice Wednesday night.
What was he thinking during what was likely the longest two minutes of his life?
"I was saying, 'Don't score, don't score, don't score, don't score," Setoguchi said.
Luckily for Setoguchi, the Sharks killed the penalty – and a little more than two minutes later, he found the back of the net for the third time to give the Sharks a come-from-behind 4-3 victory in Game 3 of their Western Conference Semifinal and a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Sharks captain Joe Thornton assisted on all three of Setoguchi's goals and was unstoppable in setting up the winner. Thornton moved right around Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson before dropping the puck back to Setoguchi, who fired a quick shot past the stick side of goaltender Jimmy Howard.
Setoguchi started his celebration that was inspired by soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo. If it seemed planned, there is a good reason -- he discussed it with a teammate during the third intermission.
"I looked over at Logan Couture and said, 'You better get it before I do because I already have my celebration ready to go.' He said, 'So do I,' " Setoguchi said. "I said, 'I'm going to pull a Ronaldo and go down to my knees. He said, 'That was mine.' I said, 'I'll beat you to it.' It was kind of weird that it happened that way."
The Sharks' rally in Game 3 against the Red Wings came on the one-year anniversary of last year's rally in Game 3 against the Wings in the same building. San Jose entered the third period down a goal on Wednesday before winning in overtime; last year, the Sharks entered the third down two goals before winning in overtime.
Dan Boyle pulled the Sharks into a 3-3 tie with 4:08 remaining in regulation after receiving a perfect pass from Kyle Wellwood. Boyle fired a wrist shot from the slot that eluded Howard's catching glove and set the stage for Setoguchi's heroics.
"That's pretty cool," Boyle said of the coincidental victories before praising Wellwood's pass. "He's such a smart, smart player. What can I say about that play? There's not too many guys who can make that."
After two days of speculation, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were placed on separate lines in an effort to improve an offensive attack that generated just two goals in two games in San Jose. Datsyuk centered Tomas Holmstrom and Johan Franzen while Zetterberg was in the middle of Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary.
The moves by Babcock resulted in only one even-strength goal, but the Red Wings had their most consistent offensive attack in the series, pouring 41 shots on Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan talked after the game about how his team was lucky to get a win.
"Tonight, we didn't have a lot of polish. We didn't have enough players to play," McLellan said. "We got away with one. We'll have to be better. They have proven to us they're not going away. They did it last year (avoiding a sweep in Game 4 with a 7-1 victory). We have to be much better than we were a year ago. We'll try to approach the game a little bit differently and prepare a little bit better."
Howard put it into even stronger terms.
"I thought we deserved to win," Howard said. "Point blank, I thought we deserved to win."
Setoguchi opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 12:57 of the first period thanks to a series of fortunate bounces. A shot by Joe Pavelski missed badly over the net, but the puck caromed off the glass and onto the stick of Thornton. He whacked the puck near the crease, where Setoguchi tapped it home.
Nicklas Lidstrom answered for the Red Wings with 21.6 seconds remaining in the period, scoring on a power play after a gorgeous between-the-legs pass from Zetterberg into the slot. Lidstrom found a way to roof it through heavy traffic around Niemi's crease.
The Red Wings grabbed their first lead since the third period of Game 1 when Patrick Eaves was the beneficiary of hard work below the goal line by Darren Helm and Kris Draper, who was a healthy scratch for the two games of the series. Helm worked the puck through the crease, causing Niemi to sprawl. Eaves gathered the pass and backhanded a shot that banked off Niemi and into the net to make it 2-1 at 13:59 of the second period.
But Setoguchi answered 50 seconds later with a shot that wouldn't have broken a pane of glass.
Setoguchi tried to one-time a pass from Boyle but barely made contact with the puck. But he caught enough of it to get it to the net – and the off-speed shot worked perfectly, because Howard slid across hard and was out of position as the changeup slid into the right side of the net.
"You need heroes, and Seto's was ours tonight," McLellan said. "He's got a tremendous trigger. He puts himself in situations where he can shoot the puck."
Datsyuk scored his second of the series with 1:43 remaining in the second period off another wonderful pass from Zetterberg to make it a 3-2 game after two periods. It looked like the Red Wings were 20 minutes away from climbing back into the series. Instead, the Sharks kept their poise, something that's become a trademark for a team that's now 5-0 in the postseason this year.
That calm has served them well as they rallied for a one-goal deficit during the third period for the second time in this series, winning both games in OT.
"I think with the depth up front, we're more comfortable late in games when you're down one goal because we feel like we can get it any time," Thornton said.
"You can't panic. There's too many of us old guys in here who've been in that situation," Boyle said. "You have to elevate your play. But no, there's no sense of panic."
There wasn't any panic in Setoguchi, who not only took a penalty in overtime but was also in the penalty box for Datsyuk's power-play goal.
Setoguchi and Sharks showed a been-there, done-that attitude, because, well, they've been there and they've done that.
"When you've been in situations before, it's just experience," Setoguchi said. "We have guys here now this year that have been in that position last year. You're less nervous, you're more calm, you've got more poise. It definitely helps out."
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo